Megan Fox, apps spying on our kids, and more: Our parenting news roundup

Megan Fox talks about her grooming routine before giving birth, a new report released by the Federal Trade Commission detailing how popular apps for kids are mining data on their whereabouts and finally, a new study linking childhood obesity to television in the bedroom.

Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP
Megan Fox announces nominations for the 70th Annual Golden Globe Awards, Dec. 13, 2012, in Beverly Hills, Calif.

It’s Friday, and time for our parenting news roundup.

First up this week: the television and you. (Or the television and your kid.)

Yup, still a bad idea...
We know, we know, you’ve heard all the dire warnings about “screen time.” It stunts your child’s intellectual development, makes her hyper, makes her tired, and generally is a bad idea. Despite the fact that kids are interacting with screens more than ever before.

Well, here’s yet another news item to keep in mind next time you’re tempted to shut the toddler in his room with the television babysitter. (And it’s not that we don’t understand the temptation, we assure you.) A study this week published in the “American Journal of Preventive Medicine” finds that not only do children with televisions in their rooms watch more TV, which in turn tends to make them fatter, the screen time logged in a child’s bedroom seems to actually make kids heavier than television watched in, say, the family room. 

In other words, if there are two children with about the same diet and level of physical activity, the one with a television in his room will have more health risks than the one who watches television in other areas of the house. 

Now, study researchers can’t say exactly why this is; whether it’s the television in the bedroom or other factors. But we’re thinking the take away is pretty clear. No television for Junior behind the bedroom door. 

Of course, this news comes a bit too late for most families. Studies show that in 70 percent of American households, children aged 8 to 18 already have a TV in their bedrooms.

And while we’re talking screen time...   
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) came out with a report this week showing that hundreds of the most popular children’s educational and gaming apps still fail to explain to parents what sorts of information is being collected about the youngsters who use them. Nearly 60 percent of the 400 apps the commission surveyed transmit information about the user – info that can include the user’s phone number or precise location –  back to the developer or to an advertising network, analytics company or other third party, the FTC found. But only 20 percent disclosed their data collection practices.

Somewhat creepy, no?

Meanwhile, 58 percent of the apps contained advertising. (Only 15 percent disclosed that prior to download.) Children’s advocates say reforms are needed.

She was blow drying her hair?
Because it’s Friday, I am indulging in a little celeb mommy news here. This past week we got some of the first reports from new mom Megan Fox about what it’s like to become a parent. (Review: the 'Transformers' actress gave birth to her first child, Noah, with husband Brian Austin Green, in September.) 

A lot of it is the normal stuff: It’s hard to describe how much love you can have for a new little munchkin. It’s hard to describe how completely, totally exhausted you are.

And it’s hard to try to blow dry your hair when you are in the midst of excruciating labor pains.

That’s right, the one-time Maxim Sexiest Woman Alive says that she wanted to look her best when she went to the hospital.

"I had wet hair, so I was trying to blow dry my hair before I went to the hospital," she told US Magazine. "I didn't want to go to the hospital with wet hair!"

I guess I’ll say I’m impressed. Or something. (I don’t blow dry my hair on a good day.)

Happy Friday, everyone.

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